Facebook Predator Sentenced to 15 Years
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 15, 2013|
A 33-year-old New Baltimore man was sentenced on Wednesday to 15 years in federal prison for producing child pornography by using Facebook to entice boys to send him nude pictures of themselves, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
Joining McQuade in the announcement was FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III.
On August 17, 2012, Gregory Austin, age 33, of New Baltimore, Michigan, was charged with three counts of production of child pornography for manipulating young boys, through Facebook, to create pornographic pictures of themselves.
In March 2012, Austin was arrested by the Roseville Police Department in the parking lot of an elementary school for illegally purchasing Vicodin. The arrest led to an investigation that discovered images of child pornography on Austin’s cellular phone. Further investigation revealed that Austin created an online persona, through Facebook, of a young woman named “Julie.” Through “Julie” and her Facebook page, Austin convinced numerous minor boys, including former students, to photograph their genitals and pubic areas and send him the images. In total, 133 images, depicting mostly young boys in various states of dress and undress, were found on Austin’s phone and computer.
Yesterday, United States District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow sentenced Austin to 15 years in federal prison for his crimes. In making his decision, Judge Tarnow cited that Austin had committed a serious crime that required a severe punishment. Austin was also placed on five years of supervised release.
According to McQuade, "Parents and teens should be aware that predators use social media to manipulate victims. This defendant tricked young boys into sending him nude pictures of themselves. You need to be careful when communicating online because you never know who really is on the other end of a digital message."
The Roseville Police Department along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force participated in the investigation and prosecution of this case. This case was brought as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation through the Internet.